What kind of amazes me about cats is how human they are in some ways. We always think of cats as being curious, but I’m amazed at how ornery they are. They do it so quietly, it almost looks like they don’t realize, but from watching them, I think they do. I watched a video once in which a cat climbed into a box, and another casually stepped onto the box’s lid and just stood there, looking around like, “Cat? What cat?”
Today I left the basement door open a crack, and then I just sat back and waited to see what would happen. Of course, the curiosity killed them. They all checked it out, and Keas finally got up the courage to go down the stairs. Boo followed. Cleo the Horrible Kitten made a typical cat move — she sat in the crack, blocking the way back up.
There were no fights, no hissing or growling. She sat and Boo stood in front of her, waiting for her to move. They wouldn’t look at each other. You’d swear neither knew the other was four inches away. Finally Boo just jumped right over her and raced off. The shocked look on Cleo’s face was comical. Boo always surprises her. Just when she thinks she’s got him cornered, he wiggles out of it.
But I’ve seen this orneriness before. Keas will lay on a toy so no one else can play with it. Princess will sit by the food dish so no one else can eat. Or she’ll lay at the foot of the stairs so the other cats have to wriggle between the balusters to get past her.
This morning, a friend of my daughter’s was using the bathroom. The opaque shower curtain was closed, and she thought she was alone in the bathroom. Suddenly Cleo the Horrible Kitten, in a Psycho move, grabbed the girl’s arm through the shower curtain. One minute you think you’re alone, and the next you’re getting attacked through a shower curtain. That’s one onery cat
I think the reason we think dogs are so much more human is they seem to have facial expressions — guilt, happiness, sadness — and cats have such blank faces. But inside, they are definitely a seething mass of emotions, especially playfulness.
Living with cats is kind of like living with an alien, trying to figure out what they’re thinking and feeling, how they’re like us. When it comes to bad behavior, cats are very human.